Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Appalling Anonymous Commentors

Lately I feel like a pinball -- I work on whatever it is I'm working on until I get a letter, an e-mail or a heart palpitation telling me I'd better hurry up and work on something else. In other words, I've got way more to worry about lately than I can deal with (but this nice bottle of Italian Red, block of Gruyere and box of Rosemary crackers are helping quite a bit - at least for now).

First Cynthia Samuels clued me in that CNN is asking for input about the state of our kids' schools -- I understand the hope is that the Obama administration is going to fix education (like all the administrations before him). Oh stop, I sound crabby - it's been a long day. Seriously, if I had time and knew how to make videos, I would love to be part of this important conversation, so check it out and participate if you can!

Then I was not-so-gently reminded that I'd forgotten to blog and as I wondered what exactly I was going to write about (I don't suppose you're interested in city sign permit fees or how many sinks a coffee shop needs in order to be allowed to slice a lemon) -- like manna from heaven, I got this anonymous comment in my inbox:

I think it is appalling you give your child coffee.

Now, as many of you know, often blogging is about sharing the parts of ourselves that are most vulnerable -- putting our parenting insecurities out there for all to scrutinize and so on. And when you do that and you get a bitchy anonymous comment it can really hurt, because the comment is close to home and digs at something you do (or don't) that you already feel uneasy about. I suppose Anonymous was trying to do that to me (for God knows what reason random people enjoy making strangers feel badly about themselves, but anyway) -- but I just had to laugh because I thought -- APPALLING? Half a teaspoon of espresso in a glass of milk is an APPALLING drink for a kid - really?

And then I just wanted to ask Anonymous -- what adjective would you use if I'd given him bleach to drink? Toilet water? Dog piss? I mean, get a grip.

I was reminded of a girl I once knew who told me her biggest nightmare was the thought of having a spider land on her head. I'm not judging her -- lucky her, she was young and she'd had a very very nice life thus far. But really, some of us have (and have already lived) much bigger nightmares than that. So I guess I could be a compassionate Buddhist and be glad to know that Anonymous has had such a perfect life that it can't imagine anything worse than a pampered middle class American boy having a sip of espresso in his mother's coffee shop. The horror!

And then I wondered if Anonymous thinks it's appalling when children routinely drink soda pop-- which my kids hardly even know exists (while we're on the subject, most of my family members are kind of appalled that I don't ever let my kids drink soda pop). How about caffeine-laden Easter chocolate -- should I confess that my kids had Easter candy too or will that necessitate a call to CPS?

Some day my childen will be adults and they will tell me all the appalling things I did to them as their loving, devoted and imperfect mother -- and I promise to listen and to take it like a womyn. In the meantime, a word to those who try to be hurtful, but don't have the balls to even say who they are -- it will work better if you find a parenting issue about which I lack confidence, my kids' ultra healthy abundant diet just isn't one of them. But on behalf of mothers who do waste time fretting about that, find a less appalling passtime.

Last but not least, did you know that I almost share a birthday with Gloria Steinem? I do! One day off - do you think that makes me special? Probably not -- maybe I'll criticize my mother for giving birth to me a day too late. Here's to Gloria and to all who commit outrageous acts!


OmegaMom said...

You appalling, appalling woman, you, feeding your child (eek, gasp!) -->caffeine<-- (eek, gasp!). Yeah, there are so many more appalling things in this world that that particular horror (har!) is so far down on the radar it is falling off.

Melissa said...


Happy birthday!

Stefanie said...

I'm slightly shocked that you're brave enough to give your child coffee. I mean, I have enough trouble with my kid when she eats four jelly beans. When she has a coffee yogurt? Forget about sleep for at least the next 8 hours. In other bad parenting news, I left my kid alone with Easter candy for a half hour and she ate ALL OF IT. Seriously.

Also, my mom let me have coffee when I was around the same age. Alittle coffee with a lot of sugar and milk. It was delish.

Anonymous said...

I let my 7 yr old have a sip of my coffee once a month or so. She already wants her own cup. I think there are worse things a parent can do to their kid and coffee/soda/easter candy/fast food on occasion is not one of them

Dulce Domum said...

If it's any consolation my sister and I were weaned, yes weaned, on tea. Lots of milky tea. It's a cultural thing, I think.(I'm from the UK). My grandad would always make me a milky coffee for elevensies. And, although I haven't weened my own kids on tea, why deny them a taste of something nice?

Condo Blues said...

Apparently your anon commenter doesn't know that if your kid is having an asthma attack and you don't have their meds with you, that the coffee in the caffine can stop the attack in an emergency situation. Or would it be less "appaling" to let your child suffer?

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

It's funny, I was thinking about this very topic all morning and then happened to run across this post. I was thinking about how the most frustrating comments of all are not the ones where people disagree with me, but the ones where people judge me based on limited information and assume things that were never written in the post. (And, of course, they are *always* anonymous.)

Sometimes I feel like the only way to avoid getting comments like that would be to end each post with a series of disclaimers that are longer than the post itself!

Anyway, all that is to say, I can relate. :)

SUEB0B said...

Coffee is good for you. High in antioxidants.

Anonymous said...

gawd! don't people love to judge? makes them feel safer, i s'pose. anyway - i'm shamelessly dropping by after long absence to tell you my new novel, 'busy woman seeks wife' is out in the us about now. plz look out for it and treat it nicely if you see it. meg x

Lindy said...


I use Starbucks as a reward and a bribe for my teenage stepson.

Lisa said...

This anon comment bs is one of the reasons I was worried about making my blog more out there....because I would go ballistic about something like that.

However, I find it appalling that people are so incredibly STUPID. My son drinks coffee. he likes it. And ya know what? Actually was recommended by his therapist and psychiatrist for his ADHD if he's having a hard day and the meds aren't fully helping.

Oh, that's right. It's probably also appalling I give my kid meds.

Living It, Loving It said...

You handled this perfectly. I came across an anonymous commenter recently too. Here was my response.

BTW- my nine year old for about two years now has a couple teaspoons of coffee with his milk and flavored creamer and calls it a latte. I wonder what that would make me. Extra appalling?